There have been so many books on the creation chapters of Genesis that there have to be compelling reasons to recommend another addition. When I started to read Michael Drake’s book, I must admit that, from my knowledge of the author’s background and writings, I expected it to be relevant and interesting, but I did not think it would add anything that would warrant a high recommendation. I was wrong: it is a significant addition.
Drake rightly notes that ‘Genesis 1 is among the clearest, most comprehensible passages in the entire Bible’ (p.1). Its storyline is as straightforward and unambiguous as it is dramatic: God created the heavens and the earth in six days. But equally clearly, that affirmation contradicts the conclusions of today’s mainstream science. So how should evangelical Christians (understood as those who believe in the inspiration of the Bible by God) respond to this situation?
Some very prominent evangelical biblical scholars are convinced that harmony must exist between the contemporary models of secular science and the Bible. They argue that our modern knowledge of Ancient Near Eastern (ANE) literature and culture, and the conventions of the Hebrew language, enable us to interpret Genesis in ways that do not conflict with mainstream science.
So there is today a significant number of evangelical scholars who interpret God’s creative act in terms of natural evolutionary processes over long periods of geological time. In order to do so they have to revise the traditional evangelical doctrine of God’s inspiration of the Bible in terms of the belief that ANE mythology influenced the writing of Genesis. Thus these scholars envelope the first chapters of the Bible in obscure complexity, requiring their special knowledge to unravel what is claimed to be its true meaning.
Part 1 of The Misted World of Genesis One reviews that scholarship in the light of biblical and extrabiblical evidence, and affirms the perspicuity of the Bible. Genesis 1 can be understood without access to meanings hidden in the mists of ancient pagan culture and purportedly obscure language. In particular, Drake addresses the arguments of John Walton (The Lost World of… series) and John ‘Jack’ Collins, who have had an enormous influence in the evangelical world. These chapters alone make the book vital reading for concerned Christians.
Part 2 helps readers explore Genesis 1 as the beginning of the Christ-centred biblical narrative from creation to new creation. With stunning clarity Drake explains how the beginning of the Bible gives glory to God, meaning to existence, integrity to personhood, insight for life, and confidence that God will fulfil his promises to redeem to himself, through Christ, a people to live in his coming new heavens and new earth.
This title is highly recommended.